Who Plans The Education Transition?

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The student’s team, composed of the student, his or her main advocate (a family member or other determined advocate) and all professionals necessary to provide educational and other services.

Include the Student

Federal law requires a public agency (such as a school) that is planning for a student with a disability to invite him or her to the IEP meeting if transition will be discussed.

If the student does not attend the meeting, the public agency must take other steps to ensure that the student’s preferences and interests are considered.

Include the Family

Federal laws, especially IDEA and its later amendments, state clearly the importance of parental involvement in planning for children with disabilities.

For several reasons, parental participation and leadership can make a big difference.

First, the parent is almost always the best-informed and most-focused specialist when it comes to the needs, desires and strengths of the student. Teachers and other professionals, since their focus is broader, may overlook unique characteristics. A parent, other family member or advocate will have a better chance of ensuring that all the right options are included. A parent should insist on including everyone who might be important.

Parents should ask questions, read all documents slowly and carefully, and schedule as many meetings as necessary until they are satisfied that their son or daughter will have the best available preparation for adult life. As the student matures and becomes more involved in the planning, he or she may assume the leadership role.

Parents may need to enlist other professionals who know what services different agencies can or must provide under the disability laws.

If no one on the team is taking the leader’s role energetically, one or both parents can learn to champion the rights and needs of their soon-to-be adult son or daughter. In fact, any young person will benefit enormously if at least one parent or other family member takes that role, even if the professionals on the team are also doing so.

The TIEP Team

Under IDEA, the TIEP team should include the student, parents (or persons acting as the parent), Local Education Agency (LEA) and school staff who know the student best. It should include the general education and special education teachers and counselors who know the student best, evaluation specialists and related service providers, as well as representatives of every agency that might play a role in meeting the student’s needs. These agencies can include:

  • developmental services agencies
  • alcohol, drug abuse and mental health programs
  • community colleges
  • the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS)
  • the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
  • deaf service centers
  • children’s medical services
  • children and family services
  • community mental health services
  • the Centers for Independent Living (CIL)
  • Social Security programs (SSA)
  • speech-language programs
  • any other agency with services or programs that might contribute to the student’s successful transition to adult life.

The 504 Team

The composition of the 504 team is less formally dictated by law than the IDEA team, but it’s a good idea to have the same sort of mix and cover all the services and opportunities the student might need and want. The student or anyone responsible for that person can request the participation of experts.

The IPE Team

The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is written by the student and his or her vocational rehabilitation or blind services counselor. The counselor enters the picture when the student is determined eligible for services from DVR or DBS. The earlier that counselor is involved, the more helpful they will be.

Involved family members and members of the student’s IEP or 504 teams should also contribute to drafting the IPE, but it’s the student and VR counselor who must agree on the final version.